There’s a lot of misinformation out there.

Here are facts with links to sources.
Check them your yourself!

The Facts on Teaneck’s 6 Straight Years of ZERO-increase Budgets:

Budget Info can be found on the Township website or on Teaneck.info 

For a similar chart going back 20 YEARS: click below

For the past 6 straight years, Teaneck’s Council has introduced a ZERO-increase budget for the Municipal side of your tax bill.

You can see the difference a zero based budget makes by comparing the Municipal to BOE lines, in the charts above.

The difference between the amount Teaneck was permitted to raise taxes pursuant to statute – and – the ZERO-based budgets we passed, would have meant an increase of approximately $1,047 extra in Municipal taxes every single year.

FACTS: The Budgets by year (as well as the Cap Bank – amount not raised) appear below with links to the source documents on the Township website.

Year Budget Cap Bank Link
2020 54,012,908 2,067,879 11-2020
2019 53,591,618 2,022,909 15-2019
2018 53,004,585 2,025,023 7-2018
2017 53,032,800 1,946,929 9-2017
2016 53,056,956 1,972,735 8-2016
2015 53,302,262 1,949,474 18-2015
2014 53,286,843 1,916,714 24-2014

The Facts on Teaneck’s Use of Bonding and Debt:

In the State of New Jersey, municipalities may bond up to the debt limit, which is 3.5% of the equalized valuation of taxable real estate.

In plain English:

  1. Each town adds up the value of all their land, buildings, etc… averaged over last three years.f
  2. The limit they can bond is 3.5% of that number.

And since the amount each town can bond is relative to their individual valuations, you get a metric that can be compared across towns.

Facts: The annual debt statement, allows you to compare neighboring municipalities’ percentage of authorized debt, against each other.
(The data below are pulled from the authorized debt statements submitted to the State)

The chart above shows how Teaneck looks, based on the submitted annual debt statements from Bergenfield, Bogota, Englewood, Hackensack and New Milford.

Each link below will bring you to the Annual Debt Statement, filed under oath with the State of New Jersey.

Year Teaneck Bogota Englewood Bergenfield Hackensack New Milford
2018 0.826% 1.279% 0.520% 1.273% 1.128%
2017 0.744% 1.111% 1.820% 0.510% 1.330% 1.106%
2016 0.619% 1.057% 1.810% 0.410% 1.368% 0.986%
2015 0.605% 0.841% 1.809% 0.423% 0.881% 1.022%
2014 0.588% 0.721% 1.517% 0.415% 0.719% 0.996%
2013 0.527% 0.913% 1.206% 0.508% 0.508% 0.708%
2012 0.487% 0.913% 1.069% 0.534% 0.698% 0.506%
2011 0.497% 0.790% 0.940% 0.540% 0.730% 0.500%
2010 0.477% 0.690% 0.910% 0.550% 0.630% 0.480%

The Facts on Teaneck’s Smart Development:

In the last few years, Teaneck has approved several Smart Development projects throughout the Town.

Here are some of the changes in revenue based on those projects:

Total Increases

New Tax Revenue from Smart Development


Municipal Open Space Fund from Smart Development


Permit Fees:


NameIncreased RevenueOld TaxNew TaxPermit FeesMOSTAssessed ValueAffordable Housing added
Hampton Inn/ Homewood Suites$1,586,986.71$18,000.00$1,604,986.71
(Hotel Occupancy)
Teaneck Square*$592,060.20$81,228.00$673,288.20$319,716.00$2,106.00$21,060,000.007
Avalon Teaneck*$1,009,525.80$273,750.00$1,283,275.80$805,647.00$4,014.00$40,140,000.0024
Verizon Building*$1,183,729.00$111,056.00$1,294,785.00$509,531.00$4,050.00$40,500,000.0023
227 Teaneck Road*$122,534.40$15,576.00$138,110.40$78,201.00$432.00$4,320,000.004
Cedar/ River commercial property$21,261.00$37,564.00$58,825.00$23,458.00$184.00$1,840,000.00
1280 Teaneck Road--$7,728.00$7,727.00$14,453.00$24.00$241,700.00
New Bridge/ River Road--$48,744.00$48,745.00$37,298.00$152.00$1,524,700.002
(* indicates final projected assessment)
Total Increases
Tax Revenue (yearly):$4,581,167.11
Municipal Open Space Fund (yearly):$16,370.00

The Facts on Maintaining Teaneck’s Quality of Life:

Schwartz, Orgen and Pagan have consistently sided with residents and neighbors when it comes to decisions such as whether to break up lots and change the nature of a community’s quality of life.

There are currently four members running for council that sit on the Planning Board:

  • Mark Schwartz (Class III member)
  • Karen Orgen (Class IV member)
  • Mike Pagan (Class I designee)
  • Denise Belcher (Alternate member)

While every resident may request a variance (e.g. to split up properties), Schwartz, Orgen and Pagan have consistently voted against the practice of granting such variances.

Belcher voted to approve splitting a lot just last month — over the express complaints of neighbors who stated on the record that this would destroy their quality of life.

Splitting lots which would result on frontages smaller than 75′ was banned decades ago at the request of residents.

At the February 13th Planning Board meeting, Council candidate and Alternate board member Denise Belcher voted to grant a variance to subdivide a property on Johnson Avenue.

In a recent Facebook posting, Belcher defended the decision:

100 foot lot broken in two over objections from neighbors

The property in question has 100 feet of frontage and a new owner requested permission to subdivide the plot into two segments and add a home.

The Facts on Maintaining Teaneck’s Nonpartisan Form of Government:

When one of Teaneck’s partisan political groups requested to endorse candidates in the Council Election – Schwartz, Orgen and Pagan made a clear and decisive declaration that the broken politics of Trenton and Washington, DC have no place in Teaneck.

Together, Deputy Mayor Mark Schwartz, Karen Lew Orgen and Michael Pagan issued a resounding rejection of any potential TDMC endorsement:

“We have seen over the past week and more so over the past 72 hours that there is no partisan response to an emergency,” said Teaneck Deputy Mayor Mark Schwartz who is a volunteer firefighter and an 18-year member of the Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

  • Mark Schwartz

“It saddens and disappoints me when our community is in crisis and in need, all the TDMC can think about is the politics of backroom party bosses,” said Karen Lew Orgen who as a community pharmacist has been working 6 days a week since the start of the COVID-19 public health emergency. She is also the first female president of the Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

  • Karen Orgen

“When I am checking in on my neighbors, or talking with my own elderly parents, our community is scared, and we need now more than ever to bring our community together, not break it apart by interjecting more partisan ideology,” said Michael Pagan who is a member of the Teaneck Senior Citizens Advisory Board.

  • Michael Pagan

Meanwhile, the opposition’s slate said an endorsement from a political party was very important, but may make winning the election, “difficult”.

One member of the People for Against Progress is the secretary of a partisan political party and attempted to have the organization begin endorsing candidates in Teaneck’s NON-PARTISAN elections.

“I believe that there is synergy between my views on government and municipal leadership and that of the TDMC.”

“While this election is very important to me and I understand that I may be giving up a very valuable endorsement, what I want most is to play a role in bringing the diverse communities of Teaneck together. An endorsement from a political party at this time may make that difficult.”

  • Ardie Walser

The Facts on Council Communications and Responsiveness:

Mark Schwartz appears regularly in social media as well as public events to answer questions and be responsive to residents.

Michael Pagan, as the County information officer, knows first hand how important it is to be able to speak with residents and communicate effectively.

Meanwhile, the opposition’s slate repeatedly calls for council-members to STOP communicating directly with residents.

In a recent post, Counciwoman Romney-Rice (who has appeared as their surrogate as well as holding a full time position at the BOE) stated:

“[S]ome people feel that our job (as Councilwoman) is to respond to the residents…..if you have a concern report it, go to the township manager”
– Councilwoman Gervonne Romney Rice on the Teaneck Drum Podcast

The Facts on Safety:

Moving Teaneck Forward thanks the following organizations for their endorsement and support:

Click the logo to read the endorsement


Meanwhile, the opposition’s slate has even called for downsizing and outsourcing our emergency resources.

“[A]t some point it may be economically prohibitive to have our own Police our own fire (department)”
– Councilwoman Gervonne Romney-Rice on the Teaneck Drum Podcast